Walla Walla, WA – Starting for the 2017 season, the future stars of the Walla Walla Valley who have excelled in their high school career will have the opportunity to showcase their talent against the current collegiate baseball stars getting prepared for their West Coast League season. Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball (WWVYBS) and the Walla Walla Sweets have teamed to produce a showcase event for talented Valley-wide high school baseball players for the 2017 season. This event will be hosted at Borleske Stadium on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 with first pitch being thrown at 7:05 PM.
The collection of high school top performers will play against the Sweets in a modified showcase-style event. The game will accomplish three goals:
1. Raise funds for youth baseball and softball in the Walla Walla Valley: net proceeds (game revenues less operating expenses of the event) will go to the WWVYBS non-profit organization. These funds are used by area youth teams and programs to fund operations, travel expenses, and other developmental needs associated with providing youth of all backgrounds a chance to play baseball and softball
2. Prepare the Sweets players for the upcoming WCL season: following the example of Major League Baseball teams that play pre-season exhibitions against area college programs, this game will allow the Sweets coaching staff evaluate players on the roster in the context of Borleske Stadium – the first time that the baseball operations staff will have a chance to see the team together before the WCL season starts
3. Prepare the Stadium staff for the upcoming season: each year, the Sweets hire more than 75 people for food and beverage and stadium jobs – and for many, it is there first job. With Opening Day 2017 on pace to draw 2,200 people, there isn’t an event in town that can prepare the staff for crowds that size. This event will allow stadium operations managers and their staffs to be prepared for 45,000+ fans over the course of the season in a real-time environment.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Sweets in bringing this opportunity for local high school athletes to showcase their baseball skills while also raising funds to support American Legion Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball, Blue Mountain Girls Softball and travel teams," said Rick Eskil, president of Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball. "This is yet another example of how the Sweets continue to invest in our community and its youth programs."
The roster for the showcase team will feature 15 players. Each player will wear his high school uniform, with custom hats for the event and a personalized wood bat being provided for each player as a commemorative memento. The game structure will be slightly different than a traditional baseball game, as showcase games include controlled pitch counts and other features that protect the health and welfare of players on both sides.
The showcase team will be managed by Sweets partner Jeff Cirillo. Jeff is a retired veteran of 14 years in Major League Baseball, was a 2-time All-Star and played collegiate baseball at USC. He continues to coach amateur baseball in the Seattle area and is a scout for the Los Angeles Angels.
“We are excited to be hosting this game – it is a fun and unique platform to help develop and raise money for youth baseball talent in the Valley, as well as the ability to have an MLB All-Star be able to work with the kids in our community is a fantastic opportunity,” said Sweets president and general manager Zachary Fraser. "We are also excited to be accomplishing so many goals with one event, and look forward to it becoming an annual tradition to recognize top high school talent in the region."
HOW TO SECURE TICKETS:Season ticket members of the Sweets will receive a call on Friday, March 31st to secure their seats for the event before being available to the general public. Ticket commitments are available from teams associated with WWVYBS starting April 3rd. They will be selling the tickets to friends and family in the community.For information on how to acquire tickets from these teams, please contact WWYVSB Board member Mike Lemma at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets will also be available at the Borleske Stadium Box Office on the day of the game, with the Box Office opening at 4:30 PM, and prior to the event online starting April 30th.
About the Walla Walla Sweets:
Walla Walla Sweets is a professionally operated baseball club in the West Coast League. It is led by a group of civic-minded individuals with strong ties to the Walla Walla region and to the game of baseball. The Walla Walla Sweets will strive to provide their fans, sponsors, business partners, and investors with the very best in competitive baseball and entertainment, including atmosphere, comfort, food & beverage, safety, competition, fun and value. For more information, please visit www.wallawallasweets.com.
About Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball:
Walla Walla Valley Youth Baseball & Softball was founded 33 years ago to raise funds for Babe Ruth Baseball and American Legion Baseball. Over the years, it expanded to provide funds for softball programs. In addition, WWVYB&S sponsors the Batter Up Program, which provides gloves and other equipment for baseball and softball players who cannot otherwise afford the necessary gear.